Politics and Covid-19 in Kampala
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As the Covid-19 pandemic spread across the globe in early 2020, the response in the Ugandan capital of Kampala was driven by Kampala City’s Covid-19 Task Force. This is the mirror image of the NTF – the official government of Uganda national-level structure that is explained in the next section. Cognisant that Uganda operates a decentralised system, government mandated sub-national governments to customise the response through the Covid-19 district and city task forces to coordinate and guide the response to the pandemic in the respective administrative units (Kirenga et al. 2020). Similar to the national structure, these sub-national task forces composed of political and technical experts that were drawn from within the respective districts (Kadowa 2020). The political arm of the Kampala City Task Force was headed by the minister for Kampala and Metropolitan Affairs, with members consisting of the resident city commissioners, lord mayor and division mayors, executive director and directors, town clerks and district medical officers, and Kampala Metropolitan Police. On its part, the technical side was headed by KCCA’s director of public health and environment, Dr Daniel Okello. The city’s health directorate’s emergency response team had previously handled emergencies including spates of cholera outbreak in different areas of the city, the Ebola epidemic, and had offered emergence support to victims of the 2010 terrorist bombings in Kampala (Twinokwesiga 2020). At the community level, the technical arm was supported by NGOs, the private sector and community volunteers in the form of VHTs. The latter are a cornerstone of Uganda’s epidemic surveillance and considered a key component in tackling infectious diseases, as they are the first health point of contact in the community. The local council chairpersons (LC I) were responsible for managing residents and ensuring compliance with national regulations (Federica et al. 2020). In this section, we will discuss the different forms of Covid-19 response in Kampala, before touching on some of the organisational aspects of the response.